SilverStone HE02 CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Coelho on October 15, 2012


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Bronze Award

The HE02 is a CPU cooler from SilverStone that has a tower heatsink, six heatpipes, and can be used in passive mode, i.e., without any fan. Let’s test it and see if it really works well without a fan.

According to the manufacturer, the HE02 can dissipate up to 95 W with no fan at all, 130 W with a case fan near the cooler, and more than 150 W with a 120 mm fan attached to the heatsink.

The HE02 comes in a brown cardboard box, as seen in Figure 1.

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: heatsink, a small tube of thermal compound, manual, fan holders, and installation hardware. The HE02 comes with no fan.

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 2: Accessories

Figure 3 displays the SilverStone HE02.

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 3: The SilverStone HE02

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

The SilverStone HE02

Figure 4 illustrates the front of the heatsink. The heatsink is asymmetrical, being shifted to the right in order to not interfere with a tall chipset heatsink.

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 4: Front view

Figures 5 and 6 reveal the sides of the cooler. Again, the heatsink is shifted to the rear, avoiding the space over memory modules.

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 5: Side view

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 6: Side view

The SilverStone HE02 (Cont’d)

In Figure 7, you can see the top of the cooler. The fins (and thus the entire heatsink) have a unique shape in order to fit 120 mm coolers on both the front and rear sides, as well as allowing access to the mounting screws.

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 7: Top view

Figure 8 illustrates the crossed nickel-plated heatpipes that connect the base of the cooler to the heatsink. This design is interesting because it spreads the heat from the center of the CPU to both sides of the heatsink.

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 8: Heatpipes

Figure 9 shows the base of the cooler, which is not exactly mirrored.

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 9: Base

Installation

The first step of the installation of the HE02 is to prepare the backplate. You must install the four screws in the holes that match your CPU socket. Figure 10 shows the backplate with the screws installed in the socket LGA1155 position.

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 10: Backplate with screws

Locate the backplate in the solder side of the motherboard, install four plastic spacers, and then the metal bars shown in Figure 11, securing them with four thumbnuts.

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 11: Metal bars installed

Put the cooler in, holding it with a transversal bar. Initially, we tested the cooler as it appears in Figure 12, with no fan attached to the heatsink, but with the fan at the rear of the case. However, this setup proved to be insufficient to cool our system, since the CPU reached temperatures near 100° C and throttled down when under full load.

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 12: Heatsink installed

Then we installed a SilverStone FM123 fan (120 mm, set to 2,000 rpm) on the cooler in order to run our benchmarking.

SilverStone HE02
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Figure 13: With a fan installed

How We Tested

We tested the cooler with a Core i5-2500K CPU (quad-core, 3.3 GHz), which is a socket LGA1155 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 4.0 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x40 multiplier), with 1.3 V core voltage (Vcore). This CPU was able to reach 4.8 GHz with its default core voltage, but at this setting, the processor enters thermal throttling when using mainstream coolers, reducing the clock and thus the thermal dissipation. This could interfere with the temperature readings, so we chose to maintain a moderate overclocking.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)

We compared the tested cooler to other coolers we already tested, and to the stock cooler that comes with the Core i5-2500K CPU. Note that the results cannot be compared to measures taken on a different hardware configuration, so we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read on the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that comes with it.

Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.

During the tests, the panels of the computer case were closed. The front and rear case fans were spinning at minimum speed in order to simulate the “normal” cooler use on a well-ventilated case. We assume that is the common setup used by a cooling enthusiast or overclocker.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top opening of the case. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.

Our Tests

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the full speed.

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseSpeedCore Temp.Temp. Diff.
Cooler Master Hyper TX318 °C50 dBA2850 rpm69 °C51 °C
Corsair A7023 °C51 dBA2000 rpm66 °C43 °C
Corsair H10026 °C62 dBA2000 rpm64 °C38 °C
EVGA Superclock26 °C57 dBA2550 rpm67 °C41 °C
NZXT HAVIK 14020 °C46 dBA 1250 rpm65 °C45 °C
Thermalright True Spirit 12026 °C42 dBA1500 rpm82 °C56 °C
Zalman CNPS12X26 °C43 dBA1200 rpm71 °C45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max20 °C51 dBA1700 rpm62 °C42 °C
Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition22 °C50 dBA2400 rpm65 °C43 °C
SilenX EFZ-120HA518 °C44 dBA1500 rpm70 °C52 °C
Noctua NH-L1220 °C44 dBA1450 rpm70 °C50 °C
Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme21 °C53 dBA2550 rpm71 °C50 °C
Gamer Storm Assassin15 °C48 dBA1450 rpm58 °C43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 40015 °C44 dBA1500 rpm60 °C45 °C
Cooler Master TPC 81223 °C51 dBA2350 rpm66 °C43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 30018 °C43 dBA1650 rpm74 °C56 °C
Intel stock cooler18 °C41 dBA2000 rpm97 °C79 °C
Xigmatek Praeton19 °C52 dBA2900 rpm83 °C64 °C
Noctua NH-U12P SE218 °C42 dBA1300 rpm69 °C51 °C
Deepcool Frostwin24 °C46 dBA1650 rpm78 °C54 °C
Thermaltake Frio Advanced13 °C56 dBA2000 rpm62 °C49 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Edition9 °C48 dBA2100 rpm53 °C44 °C
Thermaltake Frio Extreme21 °C53 dBA1750 rpm59 °C38 °C
Noctua NH-U9B SE212 °C44 dBA1700 rpm64 °C52 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro15 °C54 dBA2000 rpm52 °C37 °C
Deepcool Fiend Shark18 °C45 dBA1500 rpm74 °C56 °C
Arctic Freezer i3013 °C42 dBA1350 rpm63 °C50 °C
Spire TME III8 °C46 dBA1700 rpm70 °C62 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer11 °C54 dBA2000 rpm49 °C38 °C
Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS11 °C45 dBA2000 rpm82 °C71 °C
be quiet! Dark Rock 210 °C41 dBA1300 rpm58 °C48 °C
Phanteks PH-TC14CS16 °C47 dBA1300 rpm58 °C42 °C
Phanteks PH-TC14PE16 °C48 dBA1300 rpm57 °C41 °C
SilverStone HE01 (Q)19 °C44 dBA1150 rpm63 °C44 °C
SilverStone HE01 (P)20 °C57 dBA2050 rpm62 °C42 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Extreme (S)17 °C44 dBA1250 rpm52 °C35 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Extreme (E)17 °C53 dBA1900 rpm50 °C33 °C
Deepcool Neptwin11 °C46 dBA1500 rpm56 °C45 °C
SilverStone HE0219 °C49 dBA2000 rpm64 °C45 °C

In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.

SilverStone HE02

In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.

SilverStone HE02

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the SilverStone HE02 CPU cooler include:

Conclusions

The SilverStone HE02 is a huge, very well-made CPU cooler, with a clever design that shifts the center of the heatsink from the base, offering better compatibility with motherboards and memory modules with tall heatsinks.

However, we were disappointed with its performance. This disappointment comes mainly from the promise that the HE02 could passively cool a CPU of up to 130 W. Our CPU has a TDP of 95 W at the stock clock, but it is overclocked, and we cannot determine how many watts it is actually dissipating. With no fan attached to the heatsink, but with a 120 mm fan installed on the rear panel of our case, the SilverStone H02 was no able to cool our CPU, as it reached temperatures near 100° C and throttled down when under full load. Therefore, we can say that the HE02 must not be used to passively cool an overclocked CPU. Installing a 120 mm fan to the heatsink, it reaches a good cooling performance, but we were expecting more from such a huge cooler.

The SilverStone HE02 CPU cooler is an impressive cooler, but it didn’t deliver as much cooling performance as promised. It receives our Bronze Award.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/SilverStone-HE02-CPU-Cooler-Review/1650


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